It’s no secret that media representation of Black people is often negative, disparaging and racist. While the last year has seen the birth and growth of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, the media and advertising remain resistant to changing their dangerous narrative of Blackness as violent, less than, or nonexistent. So earlier this year, a group of bloggers came up with an idea to challenge that. On March 6th, 2015 #BlackOutDay was born. The idea was simple; that Black people would have one day where we directed our own narrative. A day to celebrate blackness by posting our own pictures and videos, and also commenting, liking and sharing each others to support and uplift one another. In a world where white stories are the default, and white faces overshadow all others, we have to actively prioritize black faces and black stories. Black Out Day is a necessary but revolutionary act of self-love. Throughout the day, black images flooded social media. Blackness was celebrated in all forms, with contributions from black people of different sexual identities, religion, age, body shape and size, and location. The sheer diversity of blackness shown is so important, as even when we are represented in mainstream media, it is with a limited idealized image. Youtuber and #BlackOutDay contributor Francesca Ramsey commented on this phenomenon and it’s impact in an interview to ABC. She said:
“Black people are not a monolith. We come in so many different skin tones, hair types, personalities. One of my followers sent me a message showing the pictures to her little sister who doesn’t feel confident about her dark skin and hair, and she felt better and more empowered.”
On that first day in March, #BlackOutDay was a top trending topic on social media sites all over the world. Because of the success of that day, and a few other BlackOuts after it, #BlackOutDay is now a seasonal movement. For one day every few months, Tumblr, Twitter, Instagram, Vine, and Facebook sees a steady stream of beautiful black people, loving and supporting themselves and one another. Join us September 21st as we continue to celebrate the individuality and importance of black lives. To join the movement: click here.